Vaginal discharge is not often a hot topic for discussion. It is completely normal for all women to experience discharge, and most of the time there is nothing to worry about. Female discharge is an important fluid that helps to keep the vagina clean, moist and also to protect it from infections. The mucus membrane of the vagina and glands on the cervix produce the discharge in order to maintain the health of the reproductive system.
What is ‘Normal’ Female Discharge?
Normal vaginal discharge should not have any strong or unpleasant smells. It is usually either clear or white and can be both thick and sticky along with feeling slippery to touch. The amount present will vary from person to person and also changes in line with a woman’s menstrual cycle throughout the month.
Menstrual Cycle and Female Discharge
Egg white discharge is a sign that ovulation is approaching. The egg white consistency of the discharge creates the perfect sticky fluid for sperm to travel through the cervix ready for fertilisation.
Creamy discharge usually occurs before or after the ovulation stage. This is primarily due to the dominant levels of progesterone which turn vaginal discharge from a clear fluid into a thick white mucus.
As long as the vaginal discharge does not have a bad odour these are both completely normal.
Other Causes of Female Discharge
If you notice changes in vaginal discharge for example in smell, colour or texture this could be a sign of infection that should not be ignored. The following conditions may be a cause of discharge, that you should get checked if you have any symptoms:
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common cause of unusual vaginal discharge which often causes a strong fishy smell, particularly after sex. This condition is not serious, however, it is important to be treated with antibiotics to reduce the chances of further complications.
Thrush is a common yeast infection that can occur in both men and women. The common symptoms for women include a white vaginal discharge, often described as a cottage cheese consistency that does not usually have an odour. Thrush is usually harmless but can be uncomfortable if left untreated.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s)
Sexually transmitted infections can cause vaginal discharge to change as the harmful bacteria replace the healthy bacteria. This change often causes the vaginal discharge to become thin, watery, change in colour (sometimes to yellow and green) and increase in the amount present. If left untreated this can cause severe complications.
Get It Checked
For reassurance or if you are concerned about abnormal vaginal discharge then get in touch today to book a consultation with one of our experienced specialist gynaecologists. They can carry out a gynaecological scan and provide a diagnosis. They can also discuss treatment options with you.